Canada’s labour market staged a modest rebound last month, but the good news was tempered by the fact the 25,800 net new jobs created were all part-time and many were likely temporary as the first wave of students entered the summer job market.
Despite the net increase in employment, Statistics Canada reported the official unemployment rate edged back to 7% after several months at 6.9, an unusual outcome caused by more Canadians entering the work force, which also may be attributed to the student cohort.
In terms of the more desirable full-time category, the economy actually shed 29,100 jobs, a poor result that was papered over by the gain of 54,900 part-time jobs.
There were 48,600 net new jobs added in the 15-24 age group during the month, which Statistics Canada said provided the “first indicators of the summer job market, especially for students aged 20 to 24, as many students aged 15 to 19 are still in school.” Employment among men 25 to 54 fell by 23,000.
The net gain was largely in line with what economists had expected, although the consensus forecast draws no distinction between full-time and part-time work.
May’s result did little to alter the prevailing trend of an economy, after churning out strong job gains in the first few years following the 2008-09 recession, that has largely run out of steam in the one area most important to Canadians– the ability to create well-paying, permanent, full-time jobs.
The agency noted that over the last 12 months, only 86,000 net new jobs have been created– or a mere 0.5% increase– with all the growth part-time.
Earlier this week, the Bank of Canada also noted that the economy had underperformed in the first quarter of 2014 and that the risk in the outlook had skewed slightly to the downside.
If there was a bright element to the report, it was that employers added 66,200 workers in May, as 40,400 left the self-employed class.
In terms of sectors, employment increased by 22,000 in education services and by about 20,000 in accommodation and food services. Agriculture jobs were also up 19,000.
Among sectors that lost jobs, the natural resources industry declined by about 23,000 and there were about 21,000 fewer workers in finance, insurance, real estate and leasing.
Manufacturing was also down by 12,200 and construction was largely flat.
Regionally, the agency said the biggest draw of jobs came in resource-rich Alberta, which picked up 16,400 workers. Most other provinces showed little change in relationship to their population, except for Newfoundland and Labrador, which lost 4,100 jobs, all full-time.